From The Crier
". . . missing since January 2001"
Spring too, fell victim
our valley like an open gash, stunned
we wandered through seasonal junk
crushing daffodils and crocus.
In July, a trapped cicada-
one glassy wingtip slipped through
a crack in its childhood shell,
like a hand waving as the ship went down.
We say fall
and mean to describe the world collapsing
into sleep or love, but could it be how
a fingertip feels on the heart?
Winter '02 sifts in,
determined as a widow digging
by a headstone. Turn out the light,
pull up a blanket and say your prayers.
There's a nightbird crying in a grotto,
and a stray at the gate.
Which road at the fork do we take
to the next lighted house?
Lamplighter, lamplighter, lend me your fire,
its tongue of flame might speak.
I misplaced my map, the stars misled me,
and the moon is caught in a tree.
After twelve, owls glide through the diamond
fields above our heads and in the cockeyed light
see how the white shirts rise from the meadow
and run to catch the moon when it comes up
but everyday at sunrise the dead hang
up their coats, wet their thumbs
to test the breeze and lie ear-down
in the dust to listen for the music of harps.
And Never Heard Again
I saw a child in a broken home
gleaming like an apple
wasps gathered on the porch
and swarmed in the eaves
she could see
what I couldn't see
the moon walking the parapet
white as a drowned foot
and when I passed again
the child was gone
but I heard singing in the attic
and the sound of lesser things
like someone opening a locket
in the dark and crawling in
Flying South Blues
An old bottlenecker played out
like a deck of cards
packed his songs in saddlebags
and on the other end of a rope
he tied his foot before
he heaved them
into Blind Canyon
If you could do anything
brush the broken glass and flowers
under your bed and unlatch
the tiny door in your ribs
would you pull the chain
and sweep out the feathers
so you could settle down
and be done with your dreaming?
Some people drift
to the river's mouth and talk
about how they want it quick
like a nickel dropped
through a grate
their pockets stuffed
with gold dust